In the big picture, the 50 game mark is of very little significance over an 82-game NHL season. But let’s be honest — it’s a nice round number and one that is easily divisible by two. The Canucks reached the 50 game mark with their 3-2 overtime win over Chicago on Tuesday, and being good with simple math, that’s all that is needed to allow us to take a look at the first two 25 game segments of the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks season, make a few observations, and maybe draw a few conclusions too. Follow me past the jump:
|Category:||Games 1-25||Games 26-50|
|Record||14-10-1 (29 points)||17-5-3 (37 points)|
|Powerplay||27/105 (25.7%)||17/86 (19.8%)|
|Penalty Kill||83/98 (84.7%)||77/89 (86.5%)|
|5 Top Scorers||D. Sedin (8G 21A 29P)||H. Sedin (3G 24A 27P)|
|H. Sedin (8G 18A 26P)||D. Sedin (14G 9A 23P)|
|Edler (4G 14A 18P)||Kesler (9G 10A 19P)|
|Higgins (7G 7A 14P)||Burrows (9G 10A 19P)|
|Kesler (5G 9P 14P)||Hodgson (9G 9A 18P)|
|+/- Leader||Burrows (+10)||Hansen (+13)|
The biggest thing that jumps out from these comparisons is the fact the power play, which carried the Canucks through the first 25 games, dropped off considerably over the latter 25. However, early in the season people screamed for improved 5-on-5 play from the Canucks, and in terms of goal differential, we’ve seen that in the most-recent 25 games. It’s also worth noting that through 25 games, the Canucks were 8th in the Western Conference and six points back of division/conference leading Minnesota. Today, the Canucks are 2nd in the West and 11 points clear of Minnesota atop the division.
The table above shows the top five scorers for each segment. When it comes to offensive production, there is always going to some variations. Max Lapierre had 4+4=8 and was +2 in the first 25 games of the season. In the second 25, he’s gone 1+0=1, and -8. Although he played only 15 of the past 25 games, Sami Salo had just 1+2 after starting the season with 5+8.
In the first 25 games: Daniel & Henrik led the way with 5 PPG apiece. Henrik and Sami Salo each had 3 game-winning goals. In the second 25 games: Ryan Kesler led with 4 PGG followed by Daniel and Cody Hodgson with 3 apiece. Daniel led the way with 4 GWG while Alex Burrows had 3.